Snack Smart
Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Snack Smart

I talked in yesterday's blog about the importance of eating every 2-4 hours. Snacks are key to keeping your energy level up, but the wrong snacks can cause you to crash and burn. For snacks I generally recommend staying to 100-200 calories. Snacks are not intended to fill you up, but rather they are a bridge between meals. They bridge your appetite and your energy to keep you from getting fatigued. In addition, snacks help to keep you from getting irritable, they keep your metabolism in check, and they help to keep you focused on the tasks at hand.

I like to choose snacks that have carbs and either protein and/or fiber. The protein and fiber help to prevent you from getting a sharp rise and subsequent crash in your blood sugar. You may experience a crash in energy if you eat simple carbs alone, but combining them with a little bit of protein can help.

Here are some of my favorites (read labels to get the calorie count you want):

Whole grain crackers and hummus
Raw veggies (peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli) dipped in hummus
String cheese and apple
Laughing Cow light cheese and whole grain crackers
Pria Bar
Luna Bar
Lara Bar
Glenny’s Soy Crisps
Glenny’s Blondies or Brownies
(the chocolate peanut butter is the BEST!)
Vitamuffin tops
½ sandwich of choice (be careful of condiments to keep calories down)
Apple and peanut butter
Any piece of fresh fruit
Kalahari Fruit Trekker bar
Kashi granola bar
Small cup of whole grain cereal (I use a coffee cup instead of a bowl to control portion)
Dried plums (they come individually wrapped now)
V-8 juice
Light yogurt
Slimfast shake
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, soy nuts, etc.
Cup of bean-based soup
Peanut or Almond M&M’s (the nuts give some fiber/protein)
1 egg on ½ whole grain English muffin
Greek yogurt with fresh fruit (the fat free tastes great!)

Sometimes I like something sweet as a snack, but sometimes I just want something that is more like real food than snack food. I make a half sandwich, cup of soup, egg, etc. I feel like I have eaten something more substantial even though the calories are the same as some of the more traditional foods you think of as snacks. If you are really hungry at snack time, try eating “real food” like this and you will probably be more satisfied.
Photo courtesy of istockphoto
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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